A Call to Dance

 

Dance shoes, tutus, buns, and technique training were never a part of my life as a child. As a matter of fact, I was in my late thirty’s before I ever stepped foot into a professional dance studio. For this reason, I find that my “call to dance” so to speak is indeed a divine call that reaches far beyond my own natural understanding.
When I first felt the burning passion and desire to dance before the Lord, it was not something that I willingly embraced. Fear, inferiority, and inadequacy were the ruling emotions that shackled my feet, hands, and soul all together. I told myself, “You’re too old, you have no training, and you’ll look ridiculous!” I tried to sweep it under the rug and laughed at myself; however, the more that I ran from the call, the hotter the fire blazed from within. Each time I would see this awesome ministry of dance (of course during that time I did not realize that it was ministry!) being manifested on television or at certain events, the desire only intensified.
After about a year of hiding, running, and attempting to extinguish the burning desire to dance, I decided to step out of hiding and explore ways to learn about how I can get started in praise dance ministry. I googled a few sites, looked for videos and even joined with two other adults who were also seeking training for praise dance ministry in my community. After a few months being involved in this community team, the Lord led me to an ordained minister who was also a trained professional dancer of thirty plus years! She had owned her own studio for many years and was then working as a partner in one of the studios in my city. I started taking classes with children for about six years! This was indeed a very humbling time for me. It was not easy, but I know now that it was necessary. The Lord was not only preparing my body and increasing dance vocabulary, He was also working on my heart!

The years described above were very necessary and I thank God for them; however the depth of the call can be summed up in what I refer to as a prophetic mandate. There are two events that I like to refer back to when I speak concerning my personal call to dance ministry. For one, some years before I felt the desire and pull to dance, I received a prophetic word from my Bible study teacher, (who is now my husband!). The prophetic word was this: “For the Lord says that from now on, take care of your feet! Take special care and see to it that you no longer purchase cheap shoes”. Okay, so both he and I laughed at this word because it indeed sounded strange. I trusted prophetic words and I trusted my Bible mentor so I wrote the prophetic word out and placed it on the shelf. I did not want to despise it. It was not until a few years after I was fully active in dance ministry that this prophetic word was brought back to my remembrance by the Holy Spirit, providing me with a fresh reminder and confirmation that what I was doing in dance was indeed the will of God! You simply cannot dance without your feet right? Another event is my call to minister the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When God gave me the final confirmation to publicize myself as being called into the Ministry to Preach the Gospel, he confirmed it through a calling dream. At the end of this dream, He alerted my attention to my white gloves. Back in those days, I only did interpretive dance and never danced without those gloves. Praise the Lord! God was confirming that even though He was calling me to a higher level of ministry, He was still allowing me to continue to dance as part of the ministry as well!

Dance ministry is so dear to my heart. I thank God that He has confirmed His anointing on my life to express His heart through drama, technique, and song. I do not take it lightly. One other event in my life that comes to mind is the vision that I have seen of myself all along in a very large open field, dancing, twirling and spinning. In the vision, I could hear this phrase within my heart: “All I want to do is please my Daddy.” My prayer is that I never lose this childlike innocence as I go from level to level in dance ministry.

Denise Cook-Godfrey

Minister/Author/Play-Wright/Liturgical Dance Educator

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